Any parent who struggles with decoding the different sleep training techniques knows they all have pros and cons. They could, probably, also list them in order of relevance, as well as the reasoning behind why a particular method was chosen over others. So what happens when those around you aren't exactly into your sleep training plan — specifically if it's a more controversial method, like cry it out? Thankfully, there are actually a few ways to get others on board with your cry it out plans, but it's important to remember this is about your baby and no one else's.
Of course, and with any other decision parents make, there's a variety of personal reasons why parents choose cry it out as the sleep training method for their child. Though, according to the Baby Sleep Site, it's often used as a "last resort," as there are other, "gentler" ways to get your baby to sleep. Among some suggestions for utilizing cry it out, the Baby Sleep Site adds that your baby should have a "sleep-friendly environment," and be at least 6 months of age. It's also important to rule out any medical issues before committing to cry it out, so you're not neglecting a potentially serious condition hiding behind your baby's tears.
With that said, if you're committed to using cry it out, Parents.com advises getting you partner involved in the planning phase. This is where you'll decide, together, how you'll engage with your baby when he or she wakes, whether it's feeding or rocking (or whatever) will soothe your baby. Creating, and sticking to, a plan (especially if successful) may sway others' opinions of what cry it out is, and how successful it can be with love and persistence.
Likewise, Baby Center recommends making sure your baby has a solid, calming bedtime routine that remains consistent, without the use of additional sleep aids. Once you've established these things, and your baby knows how to self-soothe, using cry it out as a means to get your baby to enjoy an entire night of uninterrupted sleep may not seem so overwhelming to you and those around you. In fact, it may not be as terrible as you think and depending on how your baby responds. It's important to be adaptable with your baby's changing needs, just as you'll want those around you to offer the same courtesy in terms of being your cry it out support system.
If your partner is the one unsupportive of cry it out, the Baby Sleep Site also cites a few tips to work through the disagreement before continuing with the plan. By communicating expectations, and relying on one another for support (regardless of the sleep training method), you'll lessen the chance of failing at the technique. When not on the same page, sleep training may feel harder than it should. At the very least, be sure to have family and/or a trusted pediatrician to talk things through before following a rigid sleep training plan.
According to a study published in Pediatrics, babies left to cry it out fell asleep faster than those from parents left with no instructions. The study also did a follow-up one year later, revealing that there were no reports of negatively modified behavior because of cry it out. If anything, it's hardest on the parents implementing cry it out, so hopefully loved ones will listen to your plans with an empathetic ear.
Regardless of which side of the argument those around you fall regarding cry it out, or any other sleep training method for that matter, being a parent means sometimes having to ignore the naysayers to do what's best for you, your situation, and your baby.